News Digest — 11/10/21

Sheikh Jarrah Family Agrees To Return Home To Jewish Owners

With a High Court decision in the Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik eviction dispute still pending, another Arab family living in the same neighborhood has reached an agreement with the Jewish owners of their home to hand over the property.

Under the terms of the agreement, the family – who is not a part of the current appeal against a ruling by the Jerusalem District Court to evict the families living in the properties in question – will vacate the home, but not for several years.

The compromise, which was given the force of a legal ruling in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court a few days ago, could serve as a precedent for other local Arab families and is seen as a blow to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which are both pressuring Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah – Shimon HaTzadik to refuse any proposed deals to vacate the properties.

Approximately a week ago, the PA and Hamas convinced the petitioners to reject a High Court compromise under which they would acknowledge that the properties in which they are living are owned by Jews but that they should be able to remain in them as tenants under special protected status.  Some of the families were willing to accept the compromise.

The agreement reached this week, first reported by Israel Hayom, pertains to a property in which an Arab family has been living since 1956 and was reached after the owners filed an eviction lawsuit.  Under the terms of the deal, the tenants will pay rent and be allowed to stay on the property, without special rights.  This means the family now residing there, will not be allowed to transfer rights of tenancy to anyone else, including their own children or other family members.

The deal also determined that if the property owners are granted permission to add on to the home, they will be responsible for finding alternate accommodation for the family living there.

In any case, the terms of the deal state that “no eviction will be carried out before 10 years have passed since the date the agreement between the sides received the standing of a legal ruling.”



Iran’s Top Military Chief Threatens To Attack Israel

The Commander-in-Chief of Iran’s army, Abdolrahim Mousavi, threatened Israel on Tuesday (9th) in an interview with local media saying that Iran would do whatever necessary to protect its national security.

He also sent a message to Israel: “Our response will not be limited to a particular area,” he said.  

Mousavi spoke in the shadow of the latest attacks that have been attributed to Israel, including a reported attack against Syria on Monday (8th).

An alleged Israeli strike against military posts in the central and coastal regions of Syria left two soldiers wounded and caused material damage, according to a Syrian media report.

Mousavi accused the “Zionist regime” of being his country’s source of insecurity.

“They want to undermine our stability,” Mousavi said.  “Anyone who believes that an alliance with foreign elements will lead them to security is wrong.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi spoke on Tuesday (9th) in the Knesset and highlighted the security challenges that Israel faces.  He said that the military is “changing and adapting” its methods to stand up against modern and future attacks, including cyber warfare and a potential Iranian nuclear weapon.

“The IDF is accelerating its operational plans to deal with Iran and the threat of its nuclear program,” Kochavi said.  Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Ram Ben-Barak added that, “The IDF and the defense establishment are operating 24/7 openly and overtly in an ongoing campaign against Iran and its metamorphoses.” 



Synagogues Across The Globe Mark 83 Years Since Kristallnacht

Thousands of synagogues in Israel and across the globe on Tuesday night (9th) kept their lights on to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, a pogrom that targeted Jews in a series of horrific attacks through Germany and Austria on the night of November 9, 1938.

During the pogrom, synagogues were heavily damaged and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed.  Hundreds of Jews were murdered.

To Commemorate Kristallnacht, International March of the Living, a Holocaust education program, launched an initiative known as “Let There Be Light.”

The movement encourages people and places of worship to leave their lights on during the night of November 9 to show solidarity with victims of hate.

“Over the last year we have witnessed a frightening rise of global anti-Semitism rhetoric and events,” International March of the Living President Phyllis Greenberg Heideman explained on the movement’s website.

“As the torchbearer of memory, the March of the Living’s mission is to remind the world what happens when anti-Semitism is left unchecked,” she said.

“The ‘Let There Be Light’ initiative unites the world, if even for a single moment, against anti-Semitism, hatred, and racism, in all its forms.  Our educational mission is today more necessary than ever, “said Greenberg Heideman.

Last year, former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin held an event marking the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht at the president’s residence, with Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen in attendance.

This year, Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s synagogue, where he attends, was illuminated to commemorate the occasion.



Hamas Sentences Two Israeli ‘Collaborators’ To Death

Hamas announced Tuesday (9th) it had sentenced two Palestinians to death for their alleged collaboration with Israel.  A third person was given the death penalty for drug trafficking.

The terror group’s military tribunal ruled that “it is its duty to protect Palestinian society from the scourge of cooperation with the enemy.”

Another 11 people were sentenced to four years in prison to life imprisonment and hard labor.

Previously, Hamas announced in October it had sentenced six Palestinian “informants” to death for collaborating with Israel.

Hamas takes a rigid approach to collaborators with Israel, which has with Egypt put the Gaza Strip under blockade since the Islamists took power in a bloody coup in 2007.

In 2018, a Hamas military court sentenced six people to death for espionage, including a woman.  The year before, three were convicted of assassinating a Hamas commander and were hanged or shot by a firing squad in public.

Palestinian law requires approval from the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the death penalty to go forward, but Hamas in Gaza has carried out a number of executions without getting permission from Abbas.

Rights groups in Gaza have urged Hamas to reduce its use of the death penalty.  Earlier this month the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights called for a moratorium on the death penalty, saying it was “gravely concerned about the incessant issuance of death sentences by the military judiciary” in the enclave.



New Study Confirms Account Of Hebrew Prophet Isaiah

A new site survey and study of one of the Bible’s most significant battlegrounds has revealed new information about an epic clash between Assyrian troops and Judean forces, confirming an account of the event described by the Prophet Isaiah.

Some 2,700 years ago, Assyrian King Sennacherib conquered the ancient Judean city of Lachish in an intense battle, constructing a ramp especially built to siege the town.

A detailed account of the siege is found in the Bible and illustrated depictions of the battle were discovered in the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.  The story of Lachish’s fall has survived in both Jewish and Assyrian history for millennia.

A team of Israeli and American archaeologists conducted an extensive site-survey of Lachish to determine exactly how the battle happened, how the Assyrians constructed the ramp that was so critical to their victory, and whether or not the version of events in the Bible is accurate.

The results of the investigation were recently published in the Oxford Journal of Archeology, with the project’s lead researcher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, revealing fascinating details about the battle.

“In order to build the ramp, the Assyrians could have used either sediment or stones,” Garfinkel wrote.  “However, containers are needed in order to move sediment, which is not very practical, while a stone can be passed from one man to another very quickly.”

Researchers discovered that the Assyrians had utilized a nearby resource to obtain the building materials needed for the ramp, without requiring transporting the supplies across long distances.

“At the side of the cliff, we found a quarry,” he wrote, adding that he believes “at least 1,000 men,” most likely prisoners of war captured by the Assyrians, “worked for the project.”

Researchers estimated that the completed ramp contained some 13 million stones, and that using round-the-clock slave labor, the ramp may have been finished in as little as a month.

The researchers also noted that a passage from Isaiah, which said the Assyrians took Lachish after working 24 hours a day to build the ramp, appeared to be backed up by archaeological evidence.



US Tests Iron Dome In Guam, Prepares For Possible Attack By China

The United States is testing the Iron Dome missile defense system that it developed with Israel in Guam, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (9th).

The paper said that the system is meant to be part of a comprehensive plan to secure the area against possible attacks by China.

Guam houses around 190,000 US civilians and servicemen.

The US purchased two Iron Dome systems in 2019 with the goal of deploying them sometime this year.

Experts cited in the Wall Street Journal article said that the Iron Dome might be less effective against Chinese cruise missiles than the rockets and other projectiles that Hamas and other terrorist organizations fire from Gaza into Israel.  They said that this deployment of the Iron Dome may only be an interim solution.